SME Logo

About SME


Mike Molnar Acceptance Speech

Share this

Michael Molnar Headdress
Michael F. Molnar, FSME, CMfgE, PE
2014 SME President 
November 9, 2013
Dearborn, Mich.


Molnar after delivery of acceptance speech, wearing Native American Chief’s headdress. A longstanding SME tradition has each incoming president presented with an authentic warbonnet by the Oklahoma City Chapter. This bonnet, made by the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, represents the leadership principles of courage, bravery and honor. 


Thank you, everyone. I’m honored and humbled to have this privilege to stand before you tonight.

SME has been a part of my life for more than 30 years. I’ve always felt that participation in a professional society is a net win — by participating in volunteer service, I not only contribute to our profession, but also gain invaluable experience in the process. I’ve learned a great deal by working with so many truly outstanding volunteer and staff leaders. For a manufacturing guy, SME is the place to be.

To be entrusted with this office is truly an honor, and I thank you for this opportunity. I pledge, like the many other presidents before me, to do my best to leave SME stronger, and better, at the end of my tenure. I have great role models here, as I’m following in the footsteps of some outstanding leaders that have set the bar pretty high.

I want to recognize and thank Dennis Bray and LaRoux Gillespie, our last two presidents, for their leadership, commitment and friendship, and all the hard work they did to advance SME excellence. I also want to take a moment to recognize Mark Tomlinson and his staff who are the best in the business. My thanks too to NIST, the Department of Commerce and the White House, for allowing me to continue in volunteer service while in my government role. Most importantly, I want to thank my wonderful wife, Karen, for her love and unwavering support — I would be nothing without her.

My message tonight hinges on three words:

  • Heritage.
  • Relevance.
  • Partnership.

I’ll begin with heritage. For more than 80 years, SME has been a steadfast source of manufacturing knowledge, and resources, for manufacturing stakeholders. Much has changed since that first meeting in Detroit long ago. Today, SME is the premier source of manufacturing information, recognized as the credible, nonprofit authority serving manufacturing. 

  • Through professional development, we solve the industry’s need for knowledge, training and education that propel careers — and companies — forward.
  • Through our events and media business units, we showcase innovation, enable knowledge transfer and foster vibrant marketplace interaction. 
  • Through membership, we promote the need for community and collaboration. 
  • Through our Education Foundation, we address one of our industry’s greatest challenges — filling the gap with future generations of manufacturing practitioners, whose passion exceeds our own.

SME together is indeed greater than the sum of these parts.

Before I leave heritage, this Native American headdress I'm wearing (pictured above) is a sign of the storied traditions we have.

My sincere thanks to our Oklahoma City Chapter for bestowing this honor. I pledge to live up to the historic tradition of courage, bravery and honor that this headdress symbolizes.

Now for relevance.

As this audience knows, we have embarked on a robust plan for change. Change is difficult, yet essential — essential to achieve impact and relevance at a much higher level. Driven by an enhanced vision, mission and purpose, we sought to be more relevant to our stakeholders and to dramatically increase our stakeholder base.

This year is certainly a milestone where we made a commitment to change. As announced at our Annual Meeting, we have a new name and brand. The new brand reflects expanded relevance and inclusion. Everyone who regards manufacturing as a profession should feel welcome — and find value — in SME. We still value the manufacturing engineer as a key stakeholder. And we celebrate and recognize these professionals with SME certifications, honors and awards, such as our Fellows here tonight. But SME has always been bigger and our new brand communicates this expanded relevance.

We’ve set many things into motion this year. As many of us engineers know, implementation is critical. In 2014, we must deliver. Whether it’s KnowledgeEdge, or a new membership model to dramatically expand our scale, or our new integrated event called “THE BIG M,” quality execution is essential.

Why? Because SME’s new brand and image is nascent. A brand is a promise, which can also convey an emotion and enlist loyalty. SME’s new brand delivers the promise that it will engage with its stakeholders — companies, educators, government and communities; members, students and practitioners; and the current and future manufacturing workforce.

So how will we do this? This leads us to partnership.

Working as partners is a strength of SME’s heritage. We enjoy a grand history of volunteer leaders and extraordinary staff working closely together. That time-tested approach is more critical now than ever before in implementing these changes.

To do this, all areas of SME — events, training and development, membership, Manufacturing Engineering Media and the SME Education Foundation must work together to ensure we are fulfilling, and exceeding, stakeholder expectations.

Our Member Council has proposed a new model for engagement of our Technical Communities. I think this is very exciting, with potential beyond virtual communities, because it offers many more pathways for people to engage, learn from and contribute to SME. This “Connects” approach is a great example of thinking differently about collaboration. This partnership is embedded in SME’s new tagline — Making the future. Together.®

It’s an exciting time for manufacturing, and an ideal time for SME growth. Making it possible requires a lot of work, by a lot of people. We have an incredibly talented staff, an outstanding Board of Directors and great new leaders joining us next year. I’m confident that we have the ability and commitment to meet these challenges and opportunities next year.

When you have a moment to reflect on what you’re doing for SME, I ask you to remember that what you’re really doing is “making it possible.” Making it possible for someone to reach their dream, share their experiences and cherish their memories. And just maybe that someone is you, your daughter, your son or just someone who needs help to reach their dreams.

I look forward to working with all of you so that we can demonstrate to the world that “we are making it possible.” In closing, I’m very excited, and honored, to serve as your 2014 SME president. Thank you again for this opportunity.


If you have questions about the press release or need additional information, please contact SME Public Relations at